Monday, January 9, 2012
So, it's been decided around here that Rojo is ready to try summer camp. My friends with older kids with different abilities recommended one in particular - a whole camp just for this very thing. Not cheap, but a week without Rojo is a vacation for the rest of us, and nowhere are we going to get a vacation for the cost of camp, and so, we justify. Plus, Sandy, the woman that runs the preschool Rojo worked at all summer (and four blessed days during Christmas vacation), suggested camp numerous times, and this one most enthusiastically. I've been psyching Rojo up for this for months, and have him sold. His only condition is that he be home on his birthday.
My friend Joan reminded me when online registration began and urged me to do it immediately, as the camp fills up in the first week, and people registering even a couple days after registration opens, are often put on the waiting list for the weeks they request. Joan gave me paperwork, e-mails, links, you-name-it, everything I would need to make sure I got my place in line, on line, on time.
Today was the day. Had Post-its to remind me to set the alarm so I'd be up and fully caffeinated before the 6:00 opening of registration. I slept fitfully, looking at the clock several times in the night to make sure I hadn't over-slept. Woke up at 4:30 fully awake, lay there for half an hour, finally got up, caffed up, and booted up the computer. I was ready to click in all the right spots on the Website the minute the clock turned to 6:00:00. Did just that, and I was number 36 in line. Didn't even think about getting in line before 6:00, such a rule follower am I. I impatiently waited to move up in the virtual line, which thankfully only took about 5-6 minutes. I felt like I'd won the lottery when it said I was first in line, and then when the Website magically opened and had slots for me to enter information, I was on a high. Because I am notorious for being in a hurry and making careless mistakes, I was painstaking in my entering. I was just to the place where I was filling out emergency contact information, when suddenly the site put me back in the virtual line, this time, #76. I know I didn't push the browser or the refresh button, both which had been cautioned against. I just deleted a phone number that was incorrect (which the computer had automatically entered and I needed to substitute for right information), pressed "tab" and BOOM, to the back of the line I went.
The expletives flew. I put on pretty music, lighted the candles, did a few (shallow) cleansing breaths and tried to get myself right. Had to wait about 15 minutes to get back to my first place in line, and then JUST as the site opened up for me, BOOM, Safari quit unexpectedly. That has only happened to me a handful of times in the five years I've had this computer, and NEVER when I was doing something of significance (Facebook doesn't count). Oh, and let me back this up and tell you that at 5:00 Rojo was sound asleep and I had the quiet of the house. By 6:00 he was awake and thumping loudly, making the whole house pulse with his unmedicated hyperactivity and joy. By the time I got in line for the THIRD time (back to number 36), STM had left for work and he was ever-present with his uncontained joy. Let me just tell you, the LAST thing you want when you're trying to register your special needs child for camp, is the "help" of your special needs child.
"GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW, I'M TRYING TO REGISTER YOU FOR CAMP! IF I DON'T DO IT RIGHT NOW, YOU CAN'T GO!" I shrieked. He took his joy and thumping and went and bothered Woohoo. I paced, I made the bed, I threw a load of laundry in, I brushed my teeth, neurotically checking the queue every 2 1/2 seconds. Finally, finally, just as Woohoo and Rojo had gotten themselves dressed and ready for school and were about to leave, I got on. I entered all the information (pages and pages of does he need help with this, that or the other thing questions), and submitted. RECEIVED! WOOHOO! Rushed downstairs and said goodbye to the kids. "You need to play solitaire on my iPad," Rojo said, "You need to calm down."
He's right. I'm going to make a cup of herbal tea, light another candle, breathe deeply, play a little solitaire, calm down, and thank God there is a camp so great that people are queued up to send their special needs child (ages 10-35) there. A place where campers go back year after year after year. A camp that campers say is their favorite week of their whole year. A place set up to accommodate them - make them feel successful and gain confidence. A place where they aren't special because they need help - everyone there needs help. They are special because they just are.
* Photo from http://pdx.edu